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Race in a BottleThe Story of BiDil and Racialized Medicine in a Post-Genomic Age$
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Jonathan Kahn

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231162999

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231162999.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

From Disparity to Difference

From Disparity to Difference

The Politics of Racial Medicine

(p.193) 7 From Disparity to Difference
Race in a Bottle

Thom van Dooren

Columbia University Press

This chapter situates the rise of racialized medicine in the context of ongoing political debates about the balance between state versus market interventions to address racial health disparities. The focus on genetic difference effectively privatizes race in a manner that renders it susceptible to commercial exploitation. It also makes use of and contributes to broader, more conservative initiatives to remove race and racial justice from the public sphere as legitimate concerns of the political community. Furthermore, backlash against affirmative action and efforts to develop race-specific medicines both look to unfettered market mechanisms as the best means to address imbalances in access to goods such as jobs or health. They reject or obscure the need for state intervention to solve the problem, focusing instead on individual responsibility to take action in private markets. This scheme recasts historically rooted and politically sustained disparities in health care into mere “differences” rooted in genetics.

Keywords:   genetics, racialized medicine, race-specific medicines, political community, state intervention, health care

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